Tensions rarely run higher on-screen than they do in the prison-break movie, in which characters doing time behind bars risk it all for a shot at freedom. Right now on the Criterion Channel, for our series Jailbreak!, we’ve rounded up eight of the most masterful takes on this nerve-racking suspense-film subgenre. Among these timeless cellblock-busters are the meticulously plotted POW escapes of Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion, Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17, and Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped; the hard-hitting noir of Anthony Mann’s Raw Deal and Jules Dassin’s Brute Force; and the dystopian vision of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, in which the urban jungle of Manhattan serves as a futuristic penal colony. For a taste of the taut, high-stakes drama on offer in our series—which, with Jacques Becker’s Le trou and Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law, also delves into the combustible group dynamics that can attend the pen-springing process—look no further than the teaser above.
Alex Ross Perry Pays a Visit to Great American Iconoclast Paul Schrader
On the set of his latest film, First Reformed, writer-director Paul Schrader reflects on the art of cinema and his uncompromising explorations of sin, guilt, and faith.
Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Most Unusual Experiment
In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, scholar David Bordwell examines the deeply strange horror film Vampyr, which uses popular material as a springboard for innovations in mood and technique.